Fall faves get raves from media buyers

Spinoffs, remakes causes excitement

The nets have come down with franchise fever — and media buyers seem to be catching it, too.

Betting that spinoffs like “CSI: Miami” or classic remakes like “Dragnet” reel in the viewers during the coming season, a sampling of media buyers last week said they foresee their ad agencies spending 5% more for network spots in upcoming negotiations.

“Last year’s upfronts were 15% down, so we’re expecting some percolation,” says an agency chief. More than in previous upfronts, the network TV world seems to be divided into the upbeat and the downbeat: NBC and CBS, which are hoping to capitalize on their program successes by demanding higher rates, and ABC and Fox, which are in disarray and not likely to get hefty increases.

While NBC is indisputably No. 1, the Eye’s new offerings also grabbed centerstage.

“CSI: Miami,” an offshoot of the most-viewed show in the country — inspired most raves from assorted buyers Variety spoke to last week.

“It has a lot of strength,” said a buyer from Active Intl. “It’s the next ‘Law & Order.’ ”

Even though the Eye is focussing on docs and cops, its sleeper, per some buyers, may be the upcoming Monday night laffer, “Still Standing.” The sitcom revolves around an affable father, his fetching wife and the comical mismanagement of their children.

As for the front-runner NBC, many buyers agreed that the net was right not to tamper with success but just to make relatively minor adjustments to its schedule.

“I like what they’ve done,” said a buyer from a top agency. “It makes my life easier, too.”

The Peacock’s “Boomtown,” which a buyer likened to something she might watch on HBO, seemed to spark the most enthusiasm from buyers.

As for ABC’s radical overhaul of its sked, buyers had at least a few kind words: its Tuesday laffer “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” — if for nothing else its catchy title — and “Push, Nevada,” — which boasts a David Lynch-like weirdness.

Whether those words will translate into more ad dollars remains to be seen.